Hans Herzog Estate introduces Blaufränkisch grape variety to New Zealand

Winemaker Hans Herzog and winegrower Therese Herzog. Image courtesy Hans Herzog Estate

Marlborough based winery Hans Herzog Estate has released New Zealand’s first Blaufränkisch (Blahw-fran-keesh) also known as Lemberger.

Blaufränkisch translates to ‘blue wine of the Franks’, the Austrian name for the increasingly respected middle European black grape variety. From pre-medieval times it was common to divide grape varieties into the (superior) ‘fränkisch’, whose origins lay with the Franks.

DNA profiling has shown that Blaufränkisch is a cross between Gouais Blanc (Weißer Heunisch; male parent) and Blaue Zimmettraube (aka Sbulzina in north-eastern Italy).

The culmination of many years of dedicated and painstaking work in vineyard has manifested itself in this first small batch production of the noble Austrian grape variety, Blaufränkisch, with Vintage 2019.

Being a parent of Zweigelt together with St Laurent, Blaufraenkisch completes the estate’s Austrian family, grown on one organic single vineyard.

The 2019 Blaufränkisch is from a purposely tiny yield of 800g per vine for a natural concentration.

Vigneron Hans Herzog described the wine as “A refined wine with smooth tannins and savoury acidity, it is beautifully balanced.”

“[The wine] demonstrates its heritage: single vineyard, hand-picked from the lowest yield. Untamed with long skin contact for intricacy and texture, natural fermentation with indigenous yeasts in French Barriques, no fining, no filtration,” he continued.

With a hands-on approach, Herzog himself runs the organic 11.5-hectare vineyard, one of the warmest sites in Marlborough.

Herzog is famous for his experimentalist stance and, unfettered by commercial considerations, grows an unconventional range of many exciting grape varieties for age-worthy wines of complexity, concentration, and balance.


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